The start of an affair

I’m having an affair with a poet. It started in the library – of course – over lunchtime. I was hungry and in a hurry and planned to get in and out as fast as possible. Never go to the library on an empty stomach. 

I knew what I was looking for and it wasn’t him. Isn’t that always the way? I consulted the on-line card catalogue to find what I thought I needed. He loves that I found him through a database – so modern – but we met by accident because of the call number for the poet I sought, the one I thought I wanted. In fact the two poets were together which they shouldn’t have been but someone wasn’t paying attention to the numbers and relied on the alphabet and there they were, misaligned. My instinct was to stick with my initial choice but I wavered. He was slim and the other was, it turned out, not quite what I wanted or needed that hungry lunchtime. I held my new discovery tight and cracked his spine. The minute I inhaled him he hooked me like a coke dealer and I forgot the other poet completely. Fickle, you say? Maybe. Or maybe it was fate.

We left together and haven’t been apart since. We kayaked together yesterday and first thing this morning he spoke to me in bed. Eyes barely open, I reached for him, clutched him to my bare breasts, and sighed at my incredible luck.

Why do I love him? Because he is wise. Oh sure, he’s sloppy and smokes and never cleans up after himself and when I met him his fly was down and he had ashes all over his chest and his face looked like a field plowed by a drunk farmer and I don’t think he had had a bath since we met, but do you know what he said to me last night before I went to sleep? “Let your last thinks all be thanks”.* I think this should be a meme, don’t you? A few minutes later he reassured me

“Should dreams haunt you, heed them not,
for all, both sweet and horrid,
are jokes in dubious taste,
too jejune to have truck with.”*

His looks don’t really matter because there’s nothing sexier than a man who makes me laugh. How to resist this –

“Now you have licence to lie,
naked, curled like a shrimplet,
jacent in bed, and enjoy
its cosy micro-climate…
snug in the den of yourself….”*

I know what you’re thinking. There’s no future loving a man who’s dead. He’s not even a ghost. He never wanted to be one. Look what he said

“I can’t imagine anything
that I would less like to be
than a disincarnate Spirit,
unable to chew or sip
or make contact with surfaces
or breath the scents of summer
or comprehend speech and music
or gaze at what lies beyond.”**

The truth is, he’s just words; just a book in the library; a thin volume of poetry but I’ve fallen in love with him. I found his last book of poetry, Thank you, Fog published in 1974, in the library. He was old when he wrote these poems. Old, like me. The dedication says

“None of us are as young
as we were. So what?
Friendship never ages.”

To my new friend, W.H. Auden. I love you.

*from Lullaby
** from No, Plato, No

Image result for WH Auden

 

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28 thoughts on “The start of an affair

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 6:02 am

      Thanks, Dawn. Auden is damn near perfect.

      Like

  1. Cynthia Jobin September 11, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    An old beau of mine.

    Around here, he sleeps mostly, in a fat COLLECTED POEMS OF…..

    (THANK YOU, FOG lives on a shelf in my bedroom.)

    As affairs go, you could do a lot worse.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne September 11, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      I must find the fat Collected Poems!

      Like

  2. Lisa @ cheergerm September 11, 2016 / 10:07 pm

    You have reminded me of a collection of his poems I have somewhere, a fine choice of an affair indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 6:02 am

      I can’t believe I haven’t read his poetry before. Funny how life deals you up beauty when you need it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bruce Goodman September 11, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    …when I try to imagine a faultless love
    Or the life to come, what I hear is the murmur
    Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape.

    Like

    • Susanne September 12, 2016 / 6:01 am

      Marvelous. He is a dream poet. I’m reading another book called “What W.H. Auden can do for you” by Alexander McCall Smith, a Scottish mystery writer whose books I’ve read. It’s an homage to Auden that is full of love and humour. I feel like I’ve fallen into Aladdin’s cave what with all this gorgeous poetry and his loving praise. It’s been a happy week.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Manja Mexi Movie September 12, 2016 / 4:47 am

    Oh, my. He would get his kicks out of what you wrote. You do him justice and by doing it came dangerously close. Carry on like that and you’ll need to think about that ghostness: yes or no? 😉 Such a good idea too. Let’s see: before I closed my eyes last night, two friends took me with them to skip school, but it was Napoli, so there was also a lot of shouting, and blood. Oh, and I got my first period too. (Elena Ferrante: “My Brilliant Friend”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 6:01 am

      Alexander McCall Smith wrote a little book called “What Auden can do for you” which is a fabulous homage to the man. I recommend it, if you like Auden.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 5:56 am

      I’ve started using the library again in my effort to declutter the house. But now and then I can’t resist the siren call of Chapters/Indigo but the library is so romantic and full of things I’d never. Although I think I might need to own Auden.

      Like

  5. Osyth September 12, 2016 / 3:25 pm

    I was brought up on Auden …. I can think of no better affair 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 5:56 am

      I found his “Collected Poems” at the library. It is an absolutely filthy copy, old, and cracked and really stinky. It must have been in circulation since it was first printed. Fitting, somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth September 13, 2016 / 8:31 am

        Very fitting …. Enjoy the liaison

        Like

  6. Ellen Morris Prewitt September 12, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I don’t want to steal your man, but I think I at least need to check him out. 😉

    Like

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 5:54 am

      Do check him out. I’m slightly abashed that I have not read him up to this late date in life but so glad I found him. Did you see “Four Weddings and a Funeral”? In the brutally sad funeral scene more of his lines are quoted.

      Like

  7. joey September 12, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Oh yes! I love that we’ve shared a lover. I recognized him at “Snug in the den of yourself” 🙂

    Like

    • Susanne September 13, 2016 / 5:53 am

      Isn’t he the best?! I think he slept around a lot, judging by the response.

      Like

    • Susanne September 18, 2016 / 6:54 pm

      Aww. Thank you, Luanne. I can’t believe it took me 59 years to find his work.

      Like

  8. exiledprospero September 21, 2016 / 12:30 pm

    Personally I’d prefer to have a tawdry affair with a purple-feathered burlesque artist with fluttery eyes than to spend time with an unzippered, unbathed poet, but to each his own. The best library romances seem to occur in the maths section–next to a plethora of algebra and calculus manuals–in leather-bound books bearing names such as “the sensible expression of irrational numbers” and detailing the beautiful pantomime of infinity which molds cupid’s arrows.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 24, 2016 / 6:20 pm

      How very Harry Selfridge of you. Math never added up for me which is perhaps why I enjoy a dead unbathed poet – the great unwashed.

      Like

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